Do you need pet insurance? 6 questions to ask

When our niece and her husband adopted their fur baby Layla (pictured above), an adorable Labrador/Husky mix, it was love at first sight.

Through their veterinarian’s puppy plan, the spay surgery, microchipping, all her vaccinations and tests were covered for $50/month. In addition, office visits were capped at $10 per visit. After the plan expired, they wondered if they should buy pet insurance. Any lingering doubts ended when their neighbor’s dog was hit by a car. The veterinary costs totaled $10,000.

Never wanting to be in a position of being forced to put Layla down because they couldn’t afford a procedure, they got serious about finding the right pet insurance plan.

It’s a growing industry. According to a North American Pet Health Insurance Association’s 2018 State of the Industry Report, 1.83 million pets are now insured in the U.S.

Of those insured, 98% are covered through an Accident and Illness plan or Insurance with Embedded Wellness plan.

The average Accident and Illness plan costs $517 per pet for an annual premium. Accident Only annual premiums average $181 per pet. Clearly, finding the right balance between your heart and your wallet can be a challenge.

Hopefully this list of questions gathered from the ASPCA will help you reach the right decision for your family.

What is and isn’t covered?

A cheap plan that doesn’t cover what you need is worthless. Read the fine print to answer the following questions:

  • Will exam fees be reimbursed?
  • Are pre-existing conditions or hereditary health issued excluded?
  • Do they offer preventative care coverage?
  • Are prescription costs covered?

Can I choose my veterinarian? If you like your current vet, make sure they’re a provider for the pet insurance you’re considering.

Are there waiting periods? It’s important to know exactly when your coverage begins and ends.

Is there a deductible? Like human health insurance, a higher deductible can reduce your annual premium.

Are there any caps? Get a list of any caps on how much the insurance company will pay per incident or illness.

Is this pet insurance company reputable? Do your homework. What’s the claim payment history? Is customer service responsive? Conduct an online search at the very least.

Myriam DiGiovanni

Myriam DiGiovanni

After writing for Credit Union Times and The Financial Brand, Myriam DiGiovanni covers financial literacy for FinancialFeed. She is also a storytelling expert and works with credit unions to help ... Web: Details